I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I was 28 when we had the feeling that it was time. Realizing that it would be wonderful raising a family near to our extended families, we resettled back home to Portland from Arizona, and then we started trying to get pregnant. A year slowly passed with no success. No anything.
My ob-gyn doctor was optimistic - said I was young and shouldn't have anything to worry about. But it was starting to weigh on me. I hated it when others told me to “just relax”. I had an inkling something was wrong, and I wanted answers.
An acquaintance of mine overcame infertility with Dr. Patton at OHSU. After hearing he and his wife's story, I called and made an appointment.
We started testing and treatment right away. After charting and taking Clomid for 4 months, we still weren't pregnant and now knew my FSH levels were elevated.
We decided to try IUI next and completed three rounds of that with still no results.
Then, we had a major setback. After the last IUI, some strange bleeding revealed a miscarriage. We hadn't even known I was pregnant. It was devastating. So many up and downs and so many months on the roller coaster and now this!
We decided to move forward with IVF. We were hopeful with four terrific looking embryos.
We implanted two and became pregnant. We miscarried.
The final embryos didn't result in a pregnancy at all.
I had reached a breaking point. The constant struggle had taken its toll, and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I needed to take some time off and focus on getting my health and my mind in a better place.
I had also heard of a friend's success with acupuncture and Chinese medicine and decided to work with a Doctor of Chinese Medicine in the Los Angeles area as well as an acupuncturist here in Portland to optimize my health and fertility. At the end of the year, I was ready to try one more round of IVF. I had some ideas about the IVF medical protocol process and Dr. Patton really listened to me. We came up with a treatment plan I was excited about.
We had great results with eight successful embryos.
After inserting three, I became pregnant but miscarried again.
To say I was beyond devastated is to put it mildly. I really can't describe how hard it was to finally face that my body could not do this. In my heart of hearts, I knew then I could not carry a baby.
Though consulted to possibly pursue an egg donor, I just wasn't ready for that and didn't believe I could physically carry a child anyway. We had heard about gestational carriers, but it seemed a far reality. We went back to the rest of our lives and put our hopes for a baby on hold. I had no idea and absolutely no plan for what would become of the five remaining frozen embryos.
Two years later, a friend in conversation was telling our infertility story to her friend (Heather, who I didn't know) and said, “You had easy pregnancies. You should carry their baby.” Heather shocked us both when she agreed to seriously consider this scenario and speak with her husband.
Several months passed, and Heather showed up at my doorstep to meet with us. Yes - at my doorstep! It turns out she lives two houses down the street and was serious about being our gestational carrier surrogate.
My husband and I were guarded at first - didn't want to get our hopes up for one more disappointment. But as incredible as it sounds, it has all worked out. I wouldn't look back and call it smooth sailing. I don't think I slept the entire first trimester, I was so racked with worry. But as the months passed, sheer joy started to set in as I started to see my dream coming true.
In the end, our daughter, Brigette Heather, was born full-term and in perfect health. Seven years after our first steps, I was finally a mom. And somehow, holding my baby in my arms, made it all ok. The heartache was worth it. Heather and I are now lifelong friends. We have bonded over this incredible journey, and we are working on writing a book together. Looking back, I believe this is how it was all meant to work out.
The OHSU staff has been wonderful to us through the whole journey. I cannot thank them enough and recommend them to anyone looking for fertility expertise.